The Wall Street Journal reported that the days of the old-fashioned, stuffy power suit for professional women are gone. Women can now wear gentle colors (even pink!), beading, prints, and patterns, and have sensitive tailoring (peplum is chic right now)—all of which were once unheard of in the workplace for females. We also made sure to find items that come in a range of prices so everyone can stay stylish on a budget!
1. Black Blazer
Jennifer Aniston knows that a blazer is a key to taking an outfit from drab to fab. Whether you’re wearing white pants, jeans, or even shorts, a blazer adds an instant layer of professionalism. Every woman needs one in her wardrobe – no matter where she works.
2. Pencil Skirt
Although we don’t focus on pencil skirts, we understand that it is a fundamental clothing item and has been for an extended amount of time. As a fashion blogger, Sarah Scoop wrote, “Every career woman must have a pencil skirt in their wardrobe. This classic statement piece is versatile and can transform almost any outfit into business attire. The first color every woman should purchase is black. As you all know, black is virtually the easiest color to wear. It matches almost anything and gives your silhouette a sleek look. By wearing black on the bottom, you open up many opportunities on top.”
3. Black Heels
As fashion-savvy Kathryn Worsham says, “a great pair of pumps.” I won’t deny it. I think my legs look better in heels, and they give me a different type of confidence than flats. In them, Beyonce’s got nothing on me; I could strut down any runway or dance the night away. There’s an irresistible sense of power that comes with high heels.
According to career coach Marty Nemko, shoe obsession disorder is a surprisingly major benefit in the workplace. According to him, women buy shoes that can help start a conversation, which is perfect for networking purposes. Just make sure they aren’t too strange. If they are expensive, you now have something to chat about. And if they were relatively cheap, you still have something to chat about. Interestingly enough, recent research suggests that people can correctly guess 90 percent of a stranger’s personality by simply taking a look at their shoes. “Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” according to a research paper titled “Shoes as a Source of First Impressions.” “Shoes serve a practical purpose and also serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear.”
4. Statement Necklace
A statement necklace can be showy or more conservative, depending on the style. It doesn’t have to be a gaudy piece of costume jewelry to make a statement (although it can if it is tasteful). It could just be a strand of pearls. A pearl necklace is very expensive, but you can get some great quality fake pearls. After all, Margaret Thatcher used them as her secret weapon.
5. Great Bag
The statement bag serves as an essential power item. If only we could all afford the Louis Vuitton speedy or a Birkin bag to use as our starter career bags, but unfortunately that’s not always practical for most people. But there are plenty of beautiful bags that don’t cost an entire paycheck. You want to go for something big enough that it can carry what you need for work, such as papers and your computer or iPad. And maybe one pair of shoes–not everything you would need in case of a natural disaster where you would have to camp out for extended periods.
Black, brown, and gray leather are great choices that can hide dirt well. Some good brands to consider are Coach, J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Kate Spade.
6. Power Flats
We just talked about how great heels are, but flats can make a bold statement too. As Christina Brinkley put it, “the ‘flat’ is making a power play.” In other words, flats are becoming more popular than heels among women. Flats are practical because they’re comfortable and easy to walk in, especially when you’re always on the go. “We have these lives that are complex and busy,” Brooke Jaffe, fashion director of women’s accessories at Bloomingdale’s told The WSJ. “We walk all day. And there’s an expectation that you’ll look polished.”
7. Crisp White Blouse
A blouse is not only versatile enough to go with a suit, but it also looks fabulous on its own. It’s a sleek garment that can be worn with almost any other piece of clothing.
8. One Item That Makes You Feel Powerful
As the great Cher Horowitz famously said in Clueless, “Lucy! Where’s my white collarless shirt from Fred Segal!?!! It’s my most capable-looking outfit!”
The clothing that makes us feel powerful varies from person to person. Maybe it’s a hot pink blazer for you, or a navy blue suit or cashmere cardigan for someone else. “[Women] have edged out their standing in the world. Today, they don’t have to wear a suit jacket to prove their authority,” Giorgio Armani recently said. Dress to empower yourself.
Let us know in the comments: What fashion item can you not live without? And, what do you wear that makes you feel like a boss?